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Forms of Jazz

Blues, work songs, ragtime, spirituals, and minstrel songs were, in their own ways, all part of the great "Africanization of American music" that was originated by enslaved Africans in the southern United States (Gioia 3). But the greatest of the musical forms developed in this process was jazz--one of the major American contributions to world culture. Each of these forms of music made essential contributions to the development of jazz itself but each, more or less, retained its own integrity and none could be said to have been transformed into jazz. Ragtime, for example, referred both to a specific type of musical composition and a specific style of instrumental performance and, even though there are strong connections between its forms and execution and those of early jazz, "it is inaccurate to call ragtime an early form of jazz" (Bolcom 23). The earliest form of African American music that can be called jazz is referred to either as Dixieland or New Orleans jazz. Dixieland was "the brash, marching style of jazz that emerged in New Orleans around the turn of the century" and it was "essentially a black jazz," although white musicians made many contributions in its early days (Gammond 157).

Both ragtime and Dixieland made their first significant impact from 1890 to 1910. But ragtime was usually a written form of dance music (called the cakewalk) and, at a time when sheet music was the primary means of gaining attention for new styles, its suitability to piano performance rapidly made it a national and international sensation. In fact, ragtime became such a sensation that "publishers labeled even unsyncopated music with the name to spur sales" (Wolbert). Dixieland jazz, on the other hand, flourished in the brothels and saloons of New Orleans' Storyville and its development took in all manner of influences, even including ragtime. Jazz did not, however, gain wide popular attention until white bands, such as the Original Di...

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Forms of Jazz. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 23:52, May 24, 2020, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1693902.html